In the Bull Pen: Rumble in the Rockies

By: Slade Long
September 23, 2016

Crossfire along with more of Chad Berger's best will be on hand in Colorado Springs: Photo: Andy Watson /

Crossfire along with more of Chad Berger’s best will be on hand in Colorado Springs: Photo: Andy Watson /

PUEBLO, Co. – Another geographical move for the Built Ford Tough Series this week brings another change in the bull herd along with it. We saw a lot of East Coast bulls in North Carolina last week, and when the BFTS opens up in Colorado Springs this Saturday, we’ll see a lot of bulls from Colorado and the surrounding area.

Look for the pen of bulls in Colorado Springs to be comparable in difficulty to what we saw in Charlotte. The riders managed to stay on 32 percent of the bulls in Charlotte. That’s not outstanding, but it is up from the previous week. As we approach the end of the season, it’s fair to look at how the overall numbers are shaping up for 2016. Riding percentage is 32.13 on the season, down almost three percentage points from last year, and that has a lot to do with the bulls.

Over the history of the PBR, bull quality has improved to the point where there aren’t many easy bulls at any event, and the easiest bulls on tour have slowly grown more difficult over time. The quality of bulls at each BFTS stop used to be less consistent from one part of the country to another, it’s evolved to the point where we basically see two levels of bull quality, excellent and slightly less than excellent. Colorado Springs will fit into the latter category, but the difference is getting hard to notice.

Meanwhile, the World Champion Bull race for 2016 is taking shape. The eight bulls with the highest composite scores will qualify to compete for a World Championship at the Built Ford Tough World Finals. At this point in the season, the Top 4 bulls are practically locked in, and in Colorado Springs we will see five of the remaining Top 10 bulls competing for the bottom four slots.

TLW’s Big Cat, J.A.R.S / Gene Owen’s Seven Dust and Cochise, Chad Berger’s Crossfire and Beaver Creek Beau are all in the hunt. They will all be in the Colorado Springs short round on Sunday. Berger’s Boot Jack has an outside shot at qualify as well, and we’ll see him too.

Each of these bulls need to earn a bull score of 45 or more to gain ground in the qualifying race. All of these bulls have an average bull score between 44 and 45 points, and any 45 point score will improve on that. How each of them do in Colorado Springs will be a big factor in whether or not they get to compete for a World Championship at Finals.

Chad Berger’s Big Cat was the high marked bull in Springfield, Missouri, outscoring both Pearl Harbor and SweetPro’s Bruiser. He’ll appear in the Colorado Springs short go as well. He only has two outs on the season, and with only five events left including this one, he probably won’t reach the required eight outs before Finals. That being said, he does have an outside chance to be included in the race by invitation so he’s a bull to keep an eye on going forward.

The long rounds in Colorado Springs will feature bulls from several Colorado contractors including TZ Bucking Bulls from Larkspur, Hadley Cattle from Canon City and Talbert Bucking Bulls from Cheyenne Wells. A healthy contingent of bulls from North and South Dakota will also be on hand. Along with Chad Berger’s herd, Bierema Rodeo and Flying V Bulls will also be represented.

Look for a quality pen of bulls in Colorado Springs, and look for this to be a big weekend for the bulls hoping to compete for a Championship in just over a month.

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